Today in History

Today is Tuesday, March 10, the 69th day of 2015. There are 296 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 10, 1985, Konstantin U. Chernenko, who was the Soviet Union’s leader for 13 months, died at age 73; he was succeeded by Mikhail Gorbachev.

On this date:

In 1785, Thomas Jefferson was appointed America’s minister to France, succeeding Benjamin Franklin.

In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln assigned Ulysses S. Grant, who had just received his commission as lieutenant-general, to the command of the Armies of the United States. The song “Beautiful Dreamer” by the late Stephen Foster was copyrighted by Wm. A. Pond & Co. of New York.

In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell’s assistant, Thomas Watson, heard Bell say over his experimental telephone: “Mr. Watson – come here – I want to see you.”

In 1880, the Salvation Army arrived in the United States from England.

In 1914, the Rokeby Venus, a 17th century painting by Diego Velazquez on display at the National Gallery in London, was slashed multiple times by Mary Richardson, who was protesting the arrest of fellow suffragist Emmeline Pankhurst. (The painting was repaired.)

In 1933, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake centered off Long Beach, California, resulted in 120 deaths.

In 1949, Nazi wartime broadcaster Mildred E. Gillars, also known as “Axis Sally,” was convicted in Washington D.C., of treason. (She served 12 years in prison.)

In 1959, the Tennessee Williams play “Sweet Bird of Youth,” starring Paul Newman and Geraldine Page, opened at Broadway’s Martin Beck Theatre.

In 1965, Neil Simon’s play “The Odd Couple,” starring Walter Matthau and Art Carney, opened on Broadway.

In 1969, James Earl Ray pleaded guilty in Memphis, Tennessee, to assassinating civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. (Ray later repudiated that plea, maintaining his innocence until his death.)

In 1973, the Pink Floyd album “The Dark Side of the Moon” was first released in the U.S. by Capitol Records (the British release came nearly two weeks later).

In 1980, “Scarsdale Diet” author Dr. Herman Tarnower was shot to death at his home in Purchase, New York. (Tarnower’s former lover, Jean Harris, was convicted of his murder; she served nearly 12 years in prison before being released in Jan. 1993.)

Ten years ago: Lebanon’s president reappointed staunchly pro-Syrian politician Omar Karami as prime minister. A suicide bomber blew himself up at a funeral in Mosul, Iraq, killing at least 47 people. Former President Bill Clinton underwent surgery in New York to remove scar tissue and fluid from his chest. Michael Jackson, clad in pajamas and walking gingerly, arrived one hour late to his child molestation trial after the judge threatened to have him arrested him for tardiness; a back injury was blamed. (Jackson was acquitted.)

Five years ago: President Barack Obama denounced waste, inefficiency and downright fraud in the government’s health care system as he sought to rally public support for his revamped overhaul plan during a rally in suburban St. Louis. About 200 women who’d flown airplanes during World War II as Women Airforce Service Pilots were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. Actor Corey Haim died in Burbank, California, at age 38.

One year ago: The Senate unanimously approved a bill making big changes in the military justice system to deal with sexual assault, including scrapping the nearly century-old practice of using a “good soldier defense” to raise doubts that a crime had been committed. (The House has yet to act on the measure.) Joe McGuiness, 71, the adventurous and news-making writer and reporter, died in Worcester (WU’-stur), Massachusetts.

Today’s Birthdays: Talk show host Ralph Emery is 82. Bluegrass/country singer-musician Norman Blake is 77. Actor Chuck Norris is 75. Playwright David Rabe is 75. Singer Dean Torrence (Jan and Dean) is 75. Actress Katharine Houghton is 73. Actor Richard Gant is 71. Rock musician Tom Scholz (Boston) is 68. Former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell is 68. TV personality/businesswoman Barbara Corcoran (TV: “Shark Tank”) is 66. Actress Aloma Wright is 65. Blues musician Ronnie Earl (Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters) is 62. Producer-director-writer Paul Haggis is 62. Alt-country/rock musician Gary Louris is 60. Actress Shannon Tweed is 58. Pop/jazz singer Jeanie Bryson is 57. Actress Sharon Stone is 57. Rock musician Gail Greenwood is 55. Magician Lance Burton is 55. Movie producer Scott Gardenhour is 54. Actress Jasmine Guy is 53. Rock musician Jeff Ament (Pearl Jam) is 52. Music producer Rick Rubin is 52. Britain’s Prince Edward is 51. Rock singer Edie Brickell is 49. Actor Stephen Mailer is 49. Actor Philip Anthony-Rodriguez is 47. Actress Paget Brewster is 46. Actor Jon Hamm is 44. Country singer Daryle Singletary is 44. Rapper-producer Timbaland is 43. Actor Cristian de la Fuente is 41. Rock musician Jerry Horton (Papa Roach) is 40. Actor Jeff Branson is 38. Singer Robin Thicke is 38. Actress Bree Turner is 38. Olympic gold medal gymnast Shannon Miller is 38. Contemporary Christian singer Michael Barnes (Red) is 36. Actor Edi Gathegi is 36. Rock musician Matt Asti (MGMT) is 35. Country singer Carrie Underwood is 32. Actress Olivia Wilde is 31. Rhythm-and-blues singer Emeli Sande is 28. Country singer Rachel Reinert is 26. Actress Emily Osment is 23.

Thought for Today: “To the living we owe respect, but to the dead we owe only the truth.” – Voltaire, French writer and philosopher (1694-1778).

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